When Congress went into deadlock on the debt ceiling, it was the culmination of years of bitterness and complacency – and there is worse to comeWashington DC It’s obvious to me why the United States found itself so deep in debt that only an ugly compromise — rushed through Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday — could save it from failing to pay its bills for the first time in its history. The country is in the middle of a moral crisis.
War did. And food aid may well make it worse
It seems wicked to question charity appeals for starving people in the Horn of Africa. Hunger is a terrible way to go, as I discovered when I once asked a dying Somali near Mogadishu to tell me
what he was feeling. He was just passing into that zombie-like state with staring eyes. He said how the first ache was replaced by burning thirst that never leaves you.
I'm sick of being scared by scientific studies
Tall women are more likely to get cancer. As research findings go, this has to be among the most randomly vindictive scientific conclusions ever to spill out of a university research department
into a screaming newspaper headline, and lord knows there have been a few.
Women who breastfeed are less likely to have heart attacks or strokes. Women who don’t breastfeed are more likely to abuse children.
The Chilcot inquiry is too early to really savage Tony Blair
Apparently Sir John Chilcot is likely to be ‘critical’ of Tony Blair in his long-awaited report into the Iraq war. We know this, or think we know it, because the Mail on Sunday has told
us as much, in some detail. How does the Mail on Sunday know? It is odd of the committee to leak its findings, but I suppose that must be what has happened.
Neoconservatives have constructed dangerous illusions around David Petraeus's strictly limited successes
History has not dealt kindly with American generals of late. Remember when ‘Stormin’’ Norman Schwarzkopf ranked as one of the great captains of the ages? When members of Congress
talked of promoting General Colin Powell to five-star rank, hitherto reserved for the likes of Marshall and Eisenhower? When bombing the Serbs into submission elevated General Wesley Clark to the
status of a would-be presidential candidate? Or when Tommy Franks travelled the world giving speeches at $50,000 a pop to explain how he had liberated Afghanistan and Iraq? More recently still,
remember when journalists fell in love with Stanley McChrystal, the ‘Zen warrior’ who seldom slept, thrived on one meal a day, was ‘fit as a tuning fork’, and filled his
e-reader ‘with serious tomes on Pakistan, Lincoln, and Vietnam’?
With the passage of time, the stature of these figures has diminished considerably.
When he died, the White Star Line sent a bill for his uniform
There can be few better places to consider the irony of the phrase ‘the good old days’ than Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I went last week to visit the grave of
my grandfather, a 21-year-old violinist in the band of the White Star liner Titanic. More than 120 passengers and crew are buried here, 40 of them still unidentified as we approach the centenary of
I have become one of those irritating people who bangs on about how wonderful France is
I am living in France on the border between two regions (the Midi-Pyrenees and the Limousin) which also marks a border between two départements (the Lot and the Corrèze). The place
lies at the centre of a large, empty patch of France coloured green on the map to signify an unspoiled, ravishing landscape and one more beautiful and generous than anywhere I’ve lived